Tata Institute of Fundamental Research


Sreelaja Nair


Genetics of maternal control of vertebrate development

Developmental Biology

Early embryogenesis relies on RNAs and proteins present in the mature egg prior to fertilization. Post-fertilization, the zygote transcribes its own genome during a transcriptional switch phase called the mid-blastula transition (MBT). MBT is species specific, depends on DNA content, and is crucial to embryonic viability. My interest lies in understanding the mechanism of MBT in vertebrates using zebrafish as a model organism. The experimental approaches are geared towards providing a pan-genomic view of MBT. Specific embryological analysis will help understand disease states linked to altered transcriptional profiles in embryos. A related, long term goal is to understand the developmental consequence of deviating from the normal diploid state in a vertebrate.

Selected Publications

Yabe T, Ge X, Lindeman R, Nair S, Runke G, Mullins MC, Pelegri F (2009) The maternal-effect gene cellular island encodes aurora B kinase and is essential for furrow formation in the early zebrafish embryo. PLoS Genetics 5: e1000518

Nair S, Schilling TF (2008) Chemokine signaling controls endodermal migration during zebrafish gastrulation. Science 322: 89

Nair S, Li W, Cornell R, Schilling TF (2007) Requirements for Endothelin type-A receptors and Endothelin-1 signaling in the facial ectoderm for the patterning of skeletogenic neural crest cells in zebrafish. Development 134: 335

Piotrowski T, Ahn DG, Schilling TF, Nair S, Ruvinsky I, Geisler R, Rauch GJ, Haffter P, Zon LI, Zhou Y, et al. (2003) The zebrafish van gogh mutation disrupts tbx1, which is involved in the DiGeorge deletion syndrome in humans. Development 130: 5043

Knight RD, Nair S, Nelson SS, Afshar A, Javidan Y, Geisler R, Rauch GJ, Schilling TF (2003) lockjaw encodes a zebrafish tfap2a required for early neural crest development. Development 130: 5755


  • Lab is starting in August 2012
  • Tel: +91 22 2278 2320
  • s.nair @ tifr.res.in
  • Webpage